Tribe blocks Mark Twain name for Lake Tahoe cove, citing racist views

Nevada board tables bid to name Lake Tahoe cove after Mark Twain.

A Nevada state board pulled plans to name a Lake Tahoe cove after Mark Twain amid opposition from a tribe saying he held racist views on Native Americans.

The Nevada State Board on Geographic Names voted this week to indefinitely postpone a move to name the cove for Samuel Clemens, Twain's true name, after objections from the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California.

In a letter to the board, Darrel Cruz, head of the Washoe tribe's cultural resource department, wrote that Twain did not deserve the distinction due to the racist views he expressed in his writings about tribes, the Associated Press reported.

The tribe's homeland includes Lake Tahoe, which straddles the California-Nevada border.

“Samuel Clemens had racist views on the native people of this country and has captured those views in his literature,” Darrel Cruz wrote in a letter to the board. “Therefore, we cannot support the notion of giving a place name in Lake Tahoe to Samuel Clemens.”

Cruz also objected to a Twain quote about Lake Tahoe and described the Washoes as a "digger tribe," which is derogatory term describing some tribes who dug for roots for food.


Copyright © 2017, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World